Actor. He is best remembered for his role as the first Tonto, Indian companion to the Lone Ranger. Born Victor Daniels in the Muskogee region of Oklahoma, he was the first of nine children born to Dark Cloud and to Morning Star, mixed Cherokee, Scotch, Irish and German. His parents raised him on a ranch in Arizona, and he attended the University of Arizona at Tucson, excelling both scholastically and in football and boxing. Afterwards, he would work as a cowboy on cattle ranches, as a miner, a rodeo performer, and tour guide, before he went to Hollywood to try his luck in acting. Initially, he got his start as a stuntman, doubling for the top western stars of the day, but in 1935, he finally earned screen credit with his minor role of Chief Grey Wolf in the western "Rustlers of Red Dog" (1935). His first accredited stage name was given as Chief Thundercloud, which stuck with him for the rest of his film career, mostly in typical Hollywood western films of the late 1930s and 1940s, in such films as "Wagon Trail" (1935), "Gun Smoke" (1935), "Custer's Last Stand" (1936), ""Riders of the Whistling Skull" (1937), "Wild West Days" (1937), "Flaming Frontiers" (1938), "Union Pacific" (1939), "Young Buffalo Bill" (1940), "Northwest Mounted Police" (1940), "Overland Mail" (1942), "Buffalo Bill" (1944), "The Prairie" (1947), "Ticket to Tomahawk" (1950), and dozens of similar type western films, almost always playing an Indian, sometimes friendly to whites and other times unfriendly. He is best known for his role of the faithful sidekick, Tonto, in the Lone Ranger serials, "The Lone Ranger" (1938) and "The Lone Ranger Rides Again" (1939). He had a short appearance on 1950s television, on "The Gene Autry Show" (1950), and his last film role was in the John Wayne film "The Searchers" (1956), which was released after his death. He was married to the former Frances Delmar, a singer, and they had two children. He died in December 1955 in Ventura, California following surgery for stomach cancer.
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson
Frances C Courtright Daniels